The Brewery Small Business Center

DATE: Ongoing
LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
OLD USE: Haffenreffer brewery
NEW USE: Small business center


The complex was first built in 1871 as the Haffenreffer Brewery. The business saw its height topping out at 250 employees before competition in the 1950s caused production to slow. In 1965, the brewery is shut down. It became home for a moving company for a short time as well as squatters. The brewery complex gained recognition in 1982 when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


The non-profit Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) was founded in 1977 and soon afterwards sought to purchase the brewery as a cornerstone to their community development efforts of revitalizing the neighborhood and supporting small businesses. After five years of fundraising, JPNDC succeeds in purchasing the brewery.


About 10 years later, two-thirds of the building was revitalized and opened to house new local businesses. In 2008, JPNDC began the final phase to renovate the remaining portion of the five-acre, 16-building, 150,000-square foot complex. The non-profit’s goal was to “bring back the jobs that were lost when the Haffenreffer Brewery ceased operations in the 1960s and to create a supportive environment for local businesses.” A resounding success, the complex is now home to 50 small businesses with over 250 people employed.[1]

In the spirit of sustainability, JPNDC has been able to reuse a significant structure within their neighborhood, saving land and resources. At the same time, the “blight” and social problems of a vacant building have been cleared away, ushering in renewed activity and a successful local economy.

[1]Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation

Images courtesy of Jamaica Plain Gazette, FifthFloorKitchen’s Blog, and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.